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Dream a Little Dream With Salvador Dalí in Figueres

by Silke Elzner

Salvador Dalí may have been dead for around thirty years but his legacy still lives on. Just like his signature handlebar moustache by the way. I know that for a fact because I visited the original Dalí museum in the small town of Figureres, Spain the day the famous surrealist was exhumed. A clairvoyant had claimed that Salvador Dalí was her father and that she was his illegitimate child. Now, the public felt obliged to find out the truth about this claim and settle the matter once and for all.

We had no idea about any of this soap opera drama when we arrived at the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain. So you can imagine how surprised we were to see the TV crews outside the museum who were pressing visitors in the queue for commentary. We learned through them that Dalí, in fact, lay buried in this museum right underneath the marvellous glass dome. It had been his final wish – an eccentric through and through. And not only that: His embalmed body was said to last for at least 300 years (what a random number). How lucky for the lady who now requested testing to prove her parentage.

Visiting the Salvador Dalí Museum With Kids

Outside the Museum

In general, we find that modern art museums always make great destinations to visit with children. Modern and contemporary art is in most parts bright and cheerful. Oftentimes funny and mostly relatable, even for children. And I believe that if there was one artist that was suitable to see with children then it must be Salvador Dalí.

Dalí was a very productive worker. During his lifetime he created countless paintings and sculptures. He also worked together with some of the most famous people of his time. He added his creative genius to a Hitchcock movie, for example. He wrote a prologue and added illustrations to a book by Sigmund Freud. He met other world-famous artists such as Picasso, Miró and Breton and collaborated with some of them. If you like his sculptures have a look at his work with jewellery which is even more stunning.

Dreams and Symbols in Modern art

Very recognisable art by Dalí

Even if you are not familiar with the world of art, in general, you should be able to easily identify most of the work of Dalí. His melting clocks and burning giraffes, the repeated notion of eggs and baguettes, all of this were easily recognisable elements of his work. I think what made the art of Dalí most intriguing though was the realism which he applied for his visions.

The pictures that Salvador Dalí created were easy to read but hard to interpret, dreamlike visions that evoked emotions from the depths of our hearts. They were full of symbolism and encompassed all aspects of human existence: life and death, love and fear, religion and wonder. Disturbing but also with a lightness and surrealism that distanced us from the subject. As we explored the museum with the children they couldn’t help but chuckle a lot about the craziness of it all. In many ways Dalí’s art represented real life with a naughty tongue-in-cheek attitude that they enjoyed.

The Theatre-Museum in Figueres: A Gift from Dalí to the World

Inside the Theatre-Museum in Figueres

As we entered the Theatre-Museum in Figures, having escaped the curious camera teams outside, we were immediately swooped into the surprising world of Salvador Dalí. His signature shapes and motifs were everywhere in his original artwork – an army of statues standing guard along the walls, hollowed out bellies and bread-shaped objects balancing on their heads. There were giant eggs on the roofs. Patchwork installations of giant red lips and baby doll heads coming together to create a face. A car with a mannequin sitting in the rain inside.

The Theatre-Museum was not a theatre but a museum. Salvador Dalí custom-built it himself as a gift to his hometown of Figueres as he wanted for the town to have a world-class art gallery. The museum was planned in the empty space of the former town theatre, a location was precious to this artist: This had been the place where his first exhibition took place when he was a teenager. The Theatre-Museum of Figueres was just one of the many things that the artist gifted to the people after his death.

In the end There was Love and Truth

Characteristic Eggs on the Roof

The love of his life, Gala, featured in several of the artworks. She stayed with Dalí until the very end, even through troubled times when the artist took on a much younger muse. They never had children together, they didn’t want to. Hence the interest of the public in the outrageous claim of a previously unknown woman that she may be the offspring of the eccentric artist.

Some weeks after our visit to the museum we learned the truth about Dalís alleged love child. The results of the DNA analysis proved that the woman was wrong. She was not the daughter of Salvador Dalí. I am sure this would have pleased him to know. What we knew now though was that the body was still well preserved. When the scientists opened his tomb they found that his handlebar moustache was still intact 30 years after his death. No doubt that this would have pleased him, too.

The Theatre-Museum by Dalí is located in the small town of Figueres, around 2 hours north of Barcelona, Spain or 1.5 hours south of Narbonne, France. It’s also a great day trip destination when staying on the Costa Brava. More photos when you scroll down ↓

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